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ISL 2022-23: FC Goa coach Carlos Pena wants team to show consistency after win over NorthEast United FC

FC Goa climbed to fifth place in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 after a 2-1 win over NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Saturday. 

football ISL 2022-23: FC Goa coach Carlos Pena wants team to show consistency after win over NorthEast United FC snt
First Published Dec 18, 2022, 3:23 PM IST

After FC Goa defeated NorthEast United FC 2-1 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa in the latest Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 match on Saturday, head coach Carlos Pena urged his side to stay consistent and perform at their highest level.

Edu Bedia and Iker Guarrotxena scored twice in the opening 20 minutes to enable Pena's team to win their fourth home game and move up to fifth place in the Hero ISL standings. Under new manager Vincenzo Annese, the Highlanders are still searching for their first victory of the year as NorthEast United remains in last place.

In the post-game news conference, Pena addressed the media and discussed his team maintaining the same levels of effort, the need to close out games better, the value of Edu Bedia to the team, and other topics.

"Before the game all of us knew that it's going to be a difficult game because when you play against a team that's playing with pressure it is difficult because they didn't do anything. They didn't have anything to lose, they are not looking at the standings. They came here to play the game and prove themselves and it's not easy. If anyone was expecting an easy game, he was wrong," Pena said.

"We started the game very well, we created chances, we took advantage of the space they let us (attack) behind their back four, but after 2-0, we couldn't keep the same intensity and I think we lost the focus. We started losing so many common balls and we didn't play with the same intention. They performance before that period was good, we could've scored more goals in the second half because we created chances, but I'm not happy with the performance of the team. I'm happy for the victory and I'm happy that we got the three points, we can show our best level during the 90 minutes," the FC Goa coach added.

Also read: ISL 2022-23: Bengaluru FC coach Simon Grayson delighted with late 'birthday gift'

Summing up Edu Bedia's performance, Pena stated, "Edu (Bedia) is a very important player for us. He helped a lot in the game and then scored as well, and rest of the things he has to improve on but happy for him now. It was not easy the moment when he got the red card against Mumbai City FC. Today, he had the chance to play in starting eleven and he helped us to get the three points."

When asked about the Gaurs failing to keep a clean sheet in the match, the head coach said, "No, I'm not angry. I'm not upset with the goal we conceded. I'm upset with the performance of my team during some minutes because we need to play better, we need to keep the same intensity and same way of playing for longer."

"I know it's not possible, but we start scoring two goals and then we don't do the same things that we were doing before, so that's something we need to talk about and improve. Of course, I give a lot of importance to these three points because many other teams have also suffered to beat NorthEast United FC. We finished the first part of the league with 18 points, in the group of top teams, fighting for the playoffs, fighting for the first position. I think the balance is very good now, so happy with the 18 points, happy for the win at home again. The four out of six wins have come at home, it's not coincidence, but knowing we have to improve," he added.

When asked about what the team needs to change or improve to take the club further than just fifth place, Pena remarked, "I said before the game, we need consistency, we need to be on our best levels during more minutes in the game. Today, for example, we played brilliantly for the first 30 minutes and for the rest of the 60 minutes we were not so good. We didn't get punished but with another team, playing like this, we will get punished. It won't work for the rest of the league."

"We need to be consistent, we need to be at our best levels during more minutes and during more games, but I think we are in a good position. All the teams are very close with points tied up in fourth, fifth and sixth position. Now it's time to think about next game and to get the three points against Jamshedpur FC and keep moving," the FC Goa coach concluded.

NorthEast United FC will be looking to build on a decent second-half performance when they host ATK Mohun Bagan on December 24 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. They remain at the bottom of the ISL table. FC Goa, on the other hand, head to the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur to take on Jamshedpur FC on December 22. 

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